INDIANAPOLIS — Few high school football programs boast a state tournament history like the Cathedral Fighting Irish. On Saturday night, Cathedral added more records to its resume.
The Irish took control early of their Class 5A state title game against LaPorte, cruising to a 56-7 win to claim an unprecedented fifth straight state championship. The victory was Cathedral's 30th consecutive state tournament win, also a state record.
Players and coaches found different ways to put Cathedral's place in history into perspective after hoisting the championship trophy - again.
"Some kids don't get to be part of one state championship and I have been a part of three and multiple records along with that," junior defensive lineman Kendall Coleman said. "I can't describe it."
With 12 state titles, Cathedral is now tied with Bishop Chatard for the most championships all-time. Saturday's title game appearance was the program's 15th, tying it with Fort Wayne Bishop Luers for most trips to the state finals.
Head coach Rick Streiff claimed his 10th championship, giving him the most titles all-time in Indiana. And in scoring 56 points, the Irish fell just one point shy of the all-time record for points scored in a Class 5A title game. Their eight touchdowns tied the 5A record for a title game.
"It is a blessing to be a part of this program," senior wide receiver Malcolm Dotson said. "We really wanted to get after this and make it happen to get in the history books and make Cathedral a memorable school in Indiana."
Streiff was not willing to take much of the credit for the program's place in history.
"The whole thing is the legacy and tradition of the program," Streiff said. "It is about kids that have played before and the coaches that came before me. I am literally just the caretaker of the program right now."
After punting on its first possession of the game, Cathedral scored on its final five drives of the first half in taking a 35-7 lead to the break.
Cathedral (9-5) scored within the first minute of the second half, then returned a punt for a touchdown after LaPorte (8-6) was unable to muster a first down on its initial possession of the second half. Just more than three minutes into the third quarter, Cathedral had opened up a 49-7 advantage.
"Their 30 kids were better than our 30 kids," LaPorte coach Bob Schellinger said. "It was their athleticism and that is what we were afraid of coming in. It obviously showed on the field."
Despite struggling on offense and watching Cathedral score seemingly at will, LaPorte's bright spot was senior running back Charles Salary's 123 rushing yards. He finished the season with a school record 2,989 yards, allowing him to cap off the 9th-best single rushing season in state history.
Junior quarterback Max Bortenschlager was 11-of-16 for 195 yards and threw for three touchdowns for Cathedral. Caleb Cross tallied 108 yards on 21 carries for Cathedral. Dotson rushed twice for 33 yards and one touchdown. James Schulz, John Preston and Cross were the recipients of Bortenschlager's touchdowns.
Cathedral's last state tournament lost was a 31-10 road defeat to Evansville Reitz in the 2009 semistate round on Nov. 20, 2009.